So, lets start at the beginning shall we? What is a responsive, mobile-first web design and how can you tell at a glance? Webster’s dictionary defines mobile-first design as “a trend in website development where designing a website for smartphones, tablets and mobile devices takes priority over…” wait, wait, wait, come back!

Ok, that might all sound a little dry, but let’s just say that if you pull up a website on your iPhone and it looks like hell, runs terribly, and is a nightmare to navigate then it’s probably not been designed with mobile-first philosophies in mind.

So, what does a mobile-first website actually look like you ask? Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it (Hint: You’re on one)!

More than just an established list of rules, mobile-first design is a promise to provide your audience with the best possible experience no matter how they choose to access your content.

Today’s consumers don’t make a clear distinction between their mobile and desktop usage, they don’t want to be told what content is relevant to them based solely on their device, they want a website that fits itself around their habits, their needs, their schedule. And nothing says “we don’t want your business” like an improperly configured website.

The Benefits of a Responsive Website

With a responsive website, all your pages, products, news articles and galleries are flexible across a wide variety of screen resolutions and devices. In other words, no matter what you’re using to view the website, you’ll always be treated to the best possible experience. From custom layouts and unique functionality to simple and easy to use site navigation.

But that’s not all! Google has recently confirmed that they now assess just how mobile friendly your website is when determining rankings in search results. Essentially, Google will reward sites that are fully optimised for mobile and tablet platforms with higher rankings, potently giving you the boost you need to edge out the competition.

And most importantly, online shopping is just so much more convenient than driving into the town. Not to mention that the deal is sweeter still if you can do it all from the comfort of a warm bed, with a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winters morning. Recent studies show that 80% of consumers regularly use their smartphones to shop online so if you’re not taking advantage of this growing market, you could be sorely missing out!

If you already have a website, now is probably a good time to do a little exploring. Using whatever devices you can lay your hands on, why not give your site a real good going over. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential new customer, seeing your brand for the first time ever. What are their impressions? Are they favourable? If the idea alone fills you with dread the chances are you already know the answer.

Take a deep breath and remember that no website is ever perfect, the internet and the ways in which we access it are constantly changing. All we can do is ride the wave, and never stop pushing forward.

Thinking back to 2007 when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone, we could never have imagined just how essential to our daily lives these pocket-sized magic boxes would become. And while it may be impossible to anticipate in which direction upcoming trends will take us, with a responsive, mobile-first website you can be safe in the knowledge that your content will be accessible and look great at any size.